Understanding foreign language learning strategies: A validation study

Elsa Tragant, Marilyn S. Thompson, Mia Victori

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The present work aims to contribute to our understanding of the underlying dimensions of language learning strategies in foreign language contexts. The study analyzes alternative factor structures underlying a recently developed instrument (Tragant and Victori, 2012) and it includes the age factor in the examination of its construct validity. The target population consists of middle- and upper-grade learners of English distributed in two samples (n1 = 550 and n2 = 1425). Exploratory factor analysis and item analysis were initially conducted to be followed by confirmatory factor analyses and multiple-groups factor analysis. The instrument is a 55-item questionnaire based on a 6-point Likert-type scale measuring students' reported frequency of strategy use. Results support a correlated two-factor structure with a shortened scale of 17 items reflecting 'skills-based deep processing strategies' and 'language study strategies,' offering empirical evidence for the distinction between deep and surface clusters of strategies. Multiple-groups factor analysis showed that this model held for both middle- and upper-grade students, and upper-grade students were more likely to use the more advanced skills-based deep processing strategies and less inclined to use language study strategies than middle-grade students. The brevity of the scale and parsimonious factor structure enhance the questionnaire's utility for research and classroom evaluation. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-108
    JournalSystem
    Volume41
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013

    Keywords

    • Age effects
    • Confirmatory factor analysis
    • Deep learning strategies
    • Exploratory factor analysis
    • Foreign language learning
    • Language learning strategies
    • Measurement invariance
    • Questionnaire
    • Surface learning strategies

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